top of page

The Mughal Emperor Ahmad Shah Bahadur, practices his equestrian skills, in a hunting field in 1750.

December 31, 1749
Mirza Firuz Shah
Ahmad Shah Bahadur 1748–54

The Mughal Emperor Ahmad Shah Bahadur, practices his equestrian skills, in a hunting field in 1750.



Ahmad Shah Bahadur (Persian: احمد شاه بهادر‎), also known as Mirza Ahmad Shah (Persian: میرزا احمد شاه‎) or Mujahid-ud-Din Ahmad Shah Ghazi (Persian: مجاهدالدین احمدشاه غازی‎) (23 December 1725 – 1 January 1775) was born to Mughal Emperor Muhammad Shah. He succeeded his father to the throne as the fourteenth Mughal Emperor in 1748 at the age of 22. When Ahmed Shah Bahadur came to power, the Mughal Empire was collapsing. Furthermore, his administrative weaknesses eventually led to the rise of the usurping Feroze Jung III. Ahmed Shah Bahadur inherited a much weakened Mughal state. He was emperor in title for six years, but left all affairs of state to rivalling factions. He was deposed by the Vizier Feroze Jung III and later blinded along with his mother. He spent the remaining years of his life in prison and died of natural causes in January 1775. Early life Prince Ahmad was born in 1725 to the Mughal Emperor Muhammad Shah and his consort Qudsia Begum. Decentralization during his father's reign, the Maratha Wars and the blow from Nadir Shah's invasion had initiated the decline of the Mughal Empire. As a young Prince Ahmad developed a weakness for women, though this was restricted under his father's supervision. He is also known to have been an illiterate and never took part in military training, largely due to the attitude of his miserly father, who stinted him and used to browbeat him, never even giving him a sufficient allowance requisite of imperial princes, despite the fact that at that time there was still no shortage of funds for the imperial household. He was strongly supported by his step-mother, Badshah Begum, who adopted him as her own son, after the loss of her biological child; this was instrumental in his succession to the throne; as well as by his mother, who managed the state affairs along with the Head Eunuch of the harem, Javed Khan Nawab Bahadur, during his reign, since he sought the harem more than his duties to the empire. Emergence The Mughal Empire during Ahmad Shah's reign, after the cessation of Punjab and Kashmir to Ahmad Shah Abdali After the death of the Mughal viceroy of Lahore, Zakariya Khan Bahadur, his two sons, Yahya Khan Bahadur and Mian Shah Nawaz Khan, the Emir of Multan, fought each other during for succession. After defeating his elder brother Mian Shah Nawaz Khan declared himself the Mughal viceroy of Punjab. This weakness[clarification needed] was quickly exploited by Ahmad Shah Durrani who initiated another campaign with 30,000 cavalry to assist Shah Nawaz Khan, who was resented for tax-evasion in the Mughal imperial court and opposed by the Grand Vizier, Qamaruddin Khan, who was the father-in-law of Yahya Khan.[citation needed] In April 1748, Ahmad Shah Abdali joined by Shah Nawaz Khan invaded the Indus River Valley, prompting Muradyab Khan Kalhoro the Subedar of Sindh to dispatch reinforcements to assist the Mughal Army along the river banks. Prince Ahmad and Qamaruddin Khan, Hafiz Rahmat Khan, Safdarjung, Intizam-ud-Daula, Nasir Khan the former Subedar of Ghazni and Kabul, Yahya Khan and Ali Muhammad Khan Rohilla were dispatched by Muhammad Shah to command a large army of 75,000 to confront the 12,000 advancing Durrani's. During the Battle of Manipur (1748), in Sirhind by the river Sutlej both forces fought a decisive battle and Prince Ahmad was nominally victorious, he was thereupon conferred with the title Bahadur, after a Durrani wagon filled with gunpowder exploded. However, the Muhammad Shah seriously mourned the fall of Qamaruddin Khan, who was killed by a stray artillery shell during the battle. After Ahmad Shah Durrani's retreat the Mughal aligned Khanate of Kalat, Nawab Amir of Bhawalpur remained aligned to Alamgir II. Only before the prelude to the Third Battle of Panipat became subjects of the Durrani Empire.[citation needed] However, Qamaruddin Khan's son Muin ul-Mulk also a recognised war hero from the Battle of Manipur, was placed as the Mughal viceroy of Punjab, by the new Mughal Emperor Ahmad Shah Bahadur. Succession Qamaruddin Khan died during the Sirhind conflict. This news led to Muhammad Shah becoming gravely sick and he died soon afterwards. Prince Ahmad ascended the throne on 18 April 1748 and on 29 April 1748 his coronation was held at Red Fort in Delhi. He assumed the title Abu Nasir Mujahid-ud-Din Ahmad Shah Ghazi. The new emperor now began to enjoy his life with women in his harem.[citation needed] He appointed Safdarjung, the Nawab of Oudh, as Grand Vizier, Feroze Jung III as Mir Bakshi, and Muin ul-Mulk, the son of Qamaruddin Khan, as the governor of Punjab[citation needed] The main servant of the Mughal court, Javed Khan, was given the official title of Nawab Bahadur and an army of 5000. Together with the emperor's mother, who was given a force of 50,000, Javed Khan became effective regent. Javed Khan's rise to power and his authority was seen as an affront to the nobility and the aristocracy of the empire, and in particular to the emperor's soldiers. Death After his deposition in 1754, Ahmad Shah Bahadur was imprisoned at the Salimgarh Fort. He stayed there for the rest of his life, dying in 1775 at the age of 50 during the reign of Emperor Shah Alam II. One of his sons, Bidar Bakht reigned briefly in 1788 as Jahan Shah.


Rate This BookDon’t love itNot greatGoodGreatLove itRate This Book

Your content has been submitted

Post Comment
Ratings & Review
Click To Close Comment Box
Click To Post Your Comment
Show Reviews

Ismail Mazari

average rating is null out of 5

Very good information.


The Mughal Images immediately took a much greater interest in realistic portraiture than was typical of Persian miniatures. Animals and plants were the main subject of many miniatures for albums and were more realistically depicted. To upload your images click here.

Mughal Library brings readers of our history and related subjects on one platform. our goal is to share knowledge between researchers and students in a friendly environment.


bottom of page